Horrors. Super Lawyers to Rate Law Schools.

In a move that could even make the dreadful US News & World Report rankings look good, Superlawyers recently announced it would start rating law schools. http://blog.superlawyers.com/2009/06/articles-1/super-lawyers-to-name-top-law-schools/

In general, this is the type of democratizing of information the legal information desperately needs. And their stated methodology is that employed by Lawdragon, when it began to release law school rankings several years ago. Simply, if you select a respected list of top practitioners and then tally their law schools, you can get a nice gauge of which school holds sway in a particular community. This is valuable information neglected by the folks at US News.

That being said, the announcement still made us shudder in our boots. The nicest thing to be said about Super Lawyers is it is helpful in sorting the opossums from the penguins and one of the only tools (other than Lawdragon) that actually tries to weed through tens of thousands of consumer attorneys to identify those who are the best. It is extraordinarily difficult for people in this country to actually find a good lawyer and we support anyone who tries to provide that information.

Still, Super Lawyers’ selection methods for their cornucopia of counsel are, charitably, suspect. They have made some adjustments recently to cut down on voter fraud (like the LA rising star who was selected for her trial expertise though she had done just one trial, which she lost).  But we still wonder at the wisdom of extending the franchise to Super Law Schools.

(Guess it can’t really be worse than US News.)

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One response to “Horrors. Super Lawyers to Rate Law Schools.

  1. I appreciate your coverage of the Super Lawyers ranking of law schools. Here’s a recent posting regarding our ranking of Florida schools based on the number of graduates on our 2009 Florida Super Lawyers list http://blog.superlawyers.com/2009/07/articles-1/news-and-iformation/university-of-florida-law-school-is-head-of-the-class-in-sunshine-state/. We’ll be rolling these out state by state during the coming year, drilling a little deeper than the national ranking done by U.S. News & World Report.

    As for the Super Lawyers selection process, it’s been studied and blessed by bar associations across the country, and last December, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in our favor in the Opinion 39 case http://blog.superlawyers.com/uploads/file/NJSCOpinion.pdf. The Special Master in that case reviewed thousands of documents, listened to weeks of testimony and produced a 300 plus page report http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/nj/SuperLawyers%20Master%20Report.pdf, a substantial portion of which focused on Super Lawyers. Here’s what the Special Master had to say about the Super Lawyers selection process:

    “Suffice to say, the selection procedures employed by Key Professional Media, Inc. are very sophisticated, comprehensive and complex.”
    He also noted that it is clear from the record that Super Lawyers “is a comprehensive, good-faith and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards, and have demonstrated some degree of achievement in their field.”

    I invite you and your readers to take a look at the details of our selection process at http://www.superlawyers.com/about/selection_process.html. Again, thanks for the coverage!
    Bill White
    Publisher
    Law & Politics and Super Lawyers magazines

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